An Atlanta-area man pleaded guilty last Thursday (July 6, 2017) to federal charges he was part of an e-mail spoofing scheme that cost Sedgwick County, Kansas more than $566,000, District of Kansas U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.
George S. James, 49, Brookhaven, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
In his plea, James admitted that on Oct. 7, 2016, Sedgwick County sent approximately $566,088 to his Wells Fargo bank account. James transferred part of the money he received from Sedgwick County to a bank account in Shanghai, China, and part of the money to an account at Deutsche Bank in Bremen, Germany. James also spent some of the money.
In his plea, James denied that the fraud scheme was his idea. He said that on Sept. 23, 2016, he was contacted by a person identified in court records as A.H., who asked to deposit some money into James’ account at Wells Fargo. James said he knew A.H. was engaged in fraud, but James denied knowing that Sedgwick County was the victim.
In his plea, James said it was A.H. – or someone working with A.H. – who sent an email to Sedgwick County on Sept. 23, 2016, purporting to be from Cornejo and Sons, LLC, and requesting the county send future payments to a new account number at Wells Fargo. On Oct. 7, 2016, the county sent $566,088 to James’ account at Wells Fargo. The county learned later that Cornejo did not request the change of account and did not receive the payment.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 21. James faces a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.